News update:Mar 9, 2016

181 cases of Salmonella in US tied to live poultry

181 people in 40 states in the US have recently been infected with Salmonella associated with live chicks and ducklings bought from feed stores and hatcheries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thirty-three people have been hospitalised, but no one has died, the agency said. Alabama has the most cases, 17, while most states have fewer than 10. Illness onset dates ranged from Jan 6 to Jun 13. The CDC said the 181 cases actually represent four separate outbreaks involving different Salmonellaserotypes: Enteritidis, Hadar, Indiana, and Muenchen.

Contact with live poultry before they got sick

Of 95 people who have been interviewed about their exposures, 82 (86%) reported having contact with live poultry before they got sick. Sixty-four people who had purchase records reported buying poultry from 17 different feed supply stores and hatcheries in multiple states. "Ill people reported purchasing live poultry for backyard flocks to produce eggs or meat, or to keep as pets," the CDC said. "Many ill people in these outbreaks reported bringing the live poultry into their homes, and others reported kissing or cuddling with the live poultry. These behaviors increase a person's risk of a Salmonella infection."

The CDC said it tested Salmonella isolates from seven patients infected with one of the outbreak strains and found no resistance to any of the antibiotics included in the testing program. Testing of additional isolates is ongoing.

The CDC and its partners are using the PulseNet system, a network of labs that conduct DNA fingerprinting of pathogens, to identify cases in the four outbreaks. Basic information on the outbreaks includes:

  • Salmonella Enteritidis: 40 cases in 16 states; 3 hospitalisations; illness onset dates ranging from Jan 6 to Jun 13
  • Salmonella Hadar: 69 cases in 30 states; 19 hospitalisations; with illness onsets from Feb 24 to Jun 11
  • Salmonella Indiana: 56 cases in 16 states; 9 hospitalisations; illness onsets from Feb 20 to Jun 11
  • Salmonella Muenchen: 16 cases in 8 states; 2 hospitalisations; illness onsets from Apr 4 to June 5

Sellers of live poultry should provide health information

As it has during similar past outbreaks, the CDC cautioned that those who keep backyard poultry should wash their hands thoroughly after touching the birds or anything in their living area. The agency also said sellers of live poultry should provide health information, including information about Salmonella, to customers before they buy.

The CDC has tracked a number of salmonellosis outbreaks linked to live poultry in recent years. Last year, for example, 363 people in 43 states and Puerto Rico were infected with Salmonella attributed to poultry bought from a mail-order hatchery in Ohio.

Source: CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy)

World Poultry

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